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No Turning Back; Semi-private (PM me)
Topic Started: Sep 30 2010, 01:55 AM (1,214 Views)
Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(Naoko Raidon continued from The Quiet Lives of Baron Saturday)

He had not gone far.

It had been too difficult to go far. As soon as he'd left the house and stumbled out into the dark, he had been struck by two feelings that erased all trace of sensible thought. The first was how exposed he was, how empty and threatening the dark now seemed. Every corner could conceal a

(killer)

classmate, every protruding wall was an impediment between him and survival. As his panic had mounted, he had fled down a street, turned a severe right, and looked wildly here and there. He ran for the first door he saw, shoved it open, and then closed it at once.

It was dark outside. And in that darkness lurked all the wild fears his imagination had mustered.

But worse than the panic and the dark was a second feeling--an aching sense of loss, doubt coated in lust (and was that affection? Could he really care about her?) and mind-numbing guilt. How easily he had fled from her, how easily he had left her to her fate. He had believed her, hadn't he, when she'd told him he wouldn't kill? And wasn't he certain, absolutely certain, that only murderers would escape this island?

So how soon before she found a killer? How soon before she either compromised herself or died?

And above all this he had dim shadows of his mother's crying face, dim shadows of Ichicro, smiling against a wall as his life oozed from his wrists, dim shadows of gunshots and smiling men and Hayashida's face--

He sunk into a ball in the corner of the room, clutching the gun in trembling hands.

He must have slept, because he missed the first part of the Announcements--missed Danya's voice, proclaiming itself loudly over all the Island.

Danya. Survival of the Fittest. He saw in vivid detail all the horrible reality of it, all the deaths and murders he'd watched over the years, all the good people suffering and the villains laughing and the futile...futile...

What was happening? Where was the ice that had threatened to consume him? That had made him, unbeknown to Simon, point a gun towards his fragile, sleeping form, and think, If I...

Oh, then he had hated it. But now, without it--with old feelings he'd thought long-banished returning to him, and without a smothering cold voice to wash it all away--now he wanted it. Longed for it. Longed for it just as badly as he did for the touch of Mizore Soryu.

"Our first elimination for the day was frankly a favor for the genepool."

Raidon forced himself to calm down, setting his gun carefully by his side and ripping at his bag. He had a legal pad and a pen--debate gear he had, over long years, developed a habit of carrying around. He didn't write a single name of those listed as dead, tried not to picture their faces as Danya named them in endless succession.

He couldn't help counting them, though. Couldn't help realizing that nineteen other students had died.

He struggled with all his might not to dwell on them--not to picture the collared explosion (he'd seen it before, on SotF) beheading Remi Pierce in a misty crimson blast. Danya gave sparing details, but Raidon, his mind fuzzy and still suffused with the haze of panic and fear, could not help construing the worst from every little image.

Focus. Critical information.

Killers
Omar Burton
Alex Rasputin (2)
Kris Hartman (2)
Clio Gabriella (2)
Reiko Ishida
Nick Reid (?)
Janet Binachi
Ivan Kuznetzov
Staffan Kronwall
Rob Jenkins
Jackie Broughten
Colin Falcone

Restricted
The Lighthouse
The Groundskeepers Hut
Greens


No time to think, no desire to think, he didn't want to dwell on the fact that there were dead men on this island, that there were killers--killers, by the sound of it, more deadly than he.

Pulled out his map, marked the locations, and froze in mid-mark as he realized.

Murders. Killers. Deaths. Oh, God.

He closed his eyes and leaned his forehead into his knees.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Sep 30 2010, 05:20 PM.
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your mom wanted to make sure that her clothes didnít steal the spotlight from her new haircut so she went with this feather fringed semi-transparent catsuit w/modesty pleather panels in a simple, understated black.
[ *  *  * ]
((Scott McGregor continued from Mirror Mirror))

He had been running for what felt like the last day. From the other students, from the dead bodies (and he'd stumbled on a few), from the fact he had nothing to defend himself with.

This was bullshit.

He heard the announcements. He didn't care, couldn't bring himself to even pay attention attantion to the dangerzones. Hell, he was going to die anyway, who cared how?

He stopped in a neighborhood, looked at the houses. They reminded him of his grandfather's house. Scott missed him. He never though about him though. All those dead kids must have been making him sappy. Fuck.

He went to a house that seemed far away enough for him to get some peace. Wanted to draw something.

Let's pretend we aren't here, just a little while.

He opened the door, hoping his luck held out.

Doubted it.

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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The door opened.

The darkness rearing its head within Raidon's stomach, curling his skin with waves of burning cold as he struggled not to sob, did not vanish. It instead transformed. All the abject terror that had for the past few minutes held Raidon in its grip reared its ugly head, and Raidon stiffened.

Standing in the doorway was a boy Raidon vaguely recognized--Scott, he thought, though he couldn't for the life of him remember the last name. It was only luck that Scott didn't see him at that moment; Raidon, caught like a deer in the headlights, was unable to move, his gun clasped in numb fingers, his body compressed into a single immobile coil.

But Scott's eyes passed quickly over the side of the room in which Raidon had collapsed, and after a moment, sighing, he stepped in and shut the door behind him. Raidon stayed where he was, barely believing what was happening, but Scott, without once looking in the direction Raidon was in Scott moved into the house, towards the stairs just a little ways away.

And all the while Raidon's panic continued to change.

"Don't move," Raidon said quietly, lifting his gun into the air and pointing it at Scott.
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your mom wanted to make sure that her clothes didnít steal the spotlight from her new haircut so she went with this feather fringed semi-transparent catsuit w/modesty pleather panels in a simple, understated black.
[ *  *  * ]
Luck's out.

Time's up.

Wasn't it pathetic that Scott wasn't even going to live for three fucking days on this island? Unless he could make his own luck.

He didn't even see that guy (he still didn't know his attacker's name) until his gun was up. Fucker. He put his hands up, how could he not? He just needed to get this guy talking, create an opening to run. Just like all the movies. It would be perfect.

He shook all the same. Easy to be a badass until a gun was pointing your way.

"What the hell did I do to you? You just offing everyone that comes your way?"

He took a step closer, tried to throw him off. It was stupid, but who had room for common sense at this point?
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
(Julian Avery continued from Can't Fall Down)

Doctors estimate that over 5,000 people die as a result of Raymer's Disease every year.

Claire Lambert, you will not be a statistic. Julian Avery will find you (because you're still alive, there's no way you're not still alive) and he will- yes, when he finds you, you will be surrounded by vicious killers closing in, closing in until Julian Avery arrives waving his big shiny sword and he chases them off. Julian Avery will apologize. Julian Avery will take the blame, even though it's Andrea's fucking fault for talking so long. Julian Avery will make things right. Julian Avery will never let you out of his sight again, he will never let you down again. You will not die as long as you are under Julian's protection, and fuck it, you are still under his protection.

East. Kitty had pointed east, so he was going east, and the fucking sun was in the east, the fucking sun in his eyes making him hold one hand up to his face because he had to be looking forward. Had to be looking for Claire, because she could be anywhere, could be just past the next ridge, could be waiting for him now that she'd reached a safe distance from whatever it was that scared her. (A bear?) He could not afford to overshoot her, so he had to be looking in front of him and around him at all times. It hurt his eyes a little. Made them water a little.

If you go straight east from the cell tower, you will reach an infirmary and then you will reach an ocean. But this thing in front of Julian looked awful big to be an infirmary, it looked more like it was about the size of a town. And it was town-shaped now that he thought about it, so that nicely narrowed down the range of what it could be. So he hadn't been going directly east. But this was the way Kitty had pointed him, right? This was definitely the way Kitty had pointed him, so this was definitely the way Claire was going, so this was definitely where Claire would be. Claire would be in town. Maybe past town. Probably in town.

He thought about barreling through the streets and past the place for a second. Maybe she wasn't going to stop here. Maybe she was already past town, going to a warehouse or a lighthouse. But no. He said he'd be thorough and he'd be thorough. There was a chance she was in any one of these houses, curled up, scared, wondering where the fuck her knight in shining armor had gone. Well, Claire, he is right here, he is right here for you, he is knocking down this door and you're right behind this door and he's right here and

And you're not here.

Shout her name, just to make sure. No response. Okay. Next door. Throw it open, shout her name, no response. Next door, next door, next door. She is here somewhere. She is here somewhere, and if she is here somewhere and you pass her by, you will never forgive yourself. Throw it open, shout her name, no response. Okay. Just keep at this, you'll find her eventually, or you'll cross every house off and you'll be able to move on to a warehouse or a lighthouse or wherever. Throw it open.

Don't shout her name. Don't shout anything at all. There is someone else here, and this is no longer the place or time for shouting.

There is a boy here, and his name is Raidon Naoko. Nice kid, kinda quiet. Japanese. Kind of a pretty-boy. Christian- Evangelical? Episcopal? Works at a battered women's shelter. This is all good news, this is all great news. The bad news is that he is holding a gun. The worse news is that there is another boy, and that Raidon is holding the gun at him. So don't shout anything at all. And don't make any sudden movements. But do something, Julian Avery. You are a messiah and you know it, so fucking do something.

Fuck's sake. Can we just fast-forward this part? Because we already know how this ends. Julian will crack a joke and he will put everyone at ease and he will maybe say something nice and comforting that will make Raidon realize that he doesn't gotta shoot anyone at all. Julian will stoop down, put a hand on Raidon's shoulder, and thank him for doing the right thing. Raidon will put the gun away. Then Julian will flash a roguish grin and be on his way, and be back to throwing open doors and shouting her name. That's the part we need to get to. So why can't we just fucking skip this part?

Because we can't. So instead, "Whoa, hey! Raidon! Let's all take a step back, yeah? Ain't nobody gon' shoot nobody here." Half of Julian poking through the doorway, the other half concealed and maybe just maybe ready to dodge if Raidon decided to point his gun there. Both hands gripped around the door frame, showing that Julian was clearly unarmed and not about to hurt anyone. A friendly smile, a little worried, a lot hopeful. "You want the dude's lunch money, you should just say so. Hell, you can have mine too. And tell you what, you lower the gun and I promise I'll do this week's math homework for you. Sound good, man?"

There is only one way this can end.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Announcements were just on, weren't they?" Raidon asked, his voice soft and almost mocking. "Did you hear my name, Scott?" He got to his feet and moved closer, eyes narrowed. Inside him something was happening, his terror mingling with self-hatred, with thoughts of Ichiro and his father, of Father Cassidy and Mizore Soryu had almighty God himself.

He hated what he was. He hated that even now he could stay calm, that he could keep pointing the gun at a boy who had never even once done him wrong. Does Father Cassidy see me? Raidon wondered. Holding the gun? Threatening them?

"How little you know of God and the world, Raidon. Do you realize how fortunate even your life is?"

He and Scott were fairly close together now--close enough, Raidon thought distantly, for Scott to reasonably be able to turn and pull the gun out of Raidon's grasp. But Raidon didn't want that, did he? Raidon wanted to kill him, wanted to eliminate his competition, wanted to prove himself every bit the survivor that his enemies were-

Was that all, then? Was he just desperate for the recognition of the other killers?

The door swung open. Raidon's eyes flickered between the open door and the boy he had at gunpoint. He didn't think he recognized the newcomer, though apparently the newcomer recognized him. "Whoa, hey, Raidon! Let's all take a step back, yeah? Ain't nobody gon' shoot nobody here. You want the dude's lunch money, you should just say so. Hell, you can have mine too. And tell you what, you lower the gun and I promise I'll do this week's math homework for you. Sound good, man?"

"Not particularly, no," Raidon whispered, his throat dry. His hand was trembling on the gun, every shred of morality he had in him was screaming, trying to remind him that he was better than this, that he was not a killer, that he did not have the capacity to...

I have the capacity to kill.

He grimaced, his calm shattering to pieces, the ice in him numbing. Was he ever going to kill Mizore Soryu? Would he have killed anyone in that tunnel? Was he as good and as different as he'd tried to believe he was all along, or simply more of a coward?

My life isn't worth anymore than his.

But are you more willing to keep it?


Scott was close enough to try for the gun. A boy with a sword had just barged into the house. And for all this Raidon could not bring himself to act; he stayed frozen, finger on the trigger, body shaking and his face utterly immobile.
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your mom wanted to make sure that her clothes didnít steal the spotlight from her new haircut so she went with this feather fringed semi-transparent catsuit w/modesty pleather panels in a simple, understated black.
[ *  *  * ]
This had gotten more confusing than it already was. This guy was mocking him, another guy was here to save the day, and he could grab the gun, if he wanted to.

And by God, he desperately wanted to.

But he couldn't think, could barely breathe. Why couldn't he be like Rambo or something? John McClaine. Hell, Chris Tucker would do. He needed to take action.

But all he could do was shake, like a fucking pussy. He'd laughed at the suckers on the previous verison for doing that, yet as it turned out, he was just as much of a coward as they were.

The guys are probably laughing their asses off at me. Fuck me.

"I wouldn't know if you were on the announcements, because I have no idea who the fuck you are."

At least he could still get a good one-liner off. That might get his name on a t-shirt.

"Guess you plan on being on the next one though."
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
Fuck you, Raidon Naoko, and your nonexistent sense of humor. You are making this harder than it needs to be. You are making this take longer than it needs to. Where's Claire right now? Where will Claire be if Julian has to spend another five minutes talking Raidon down? Gone. Elsewhere. Missing. Just like Aislyn. Not someone to be caught up to, but someone to be found. Someone to be searched for. And we saw how well searching for someone goes. So hurry the fuck up, Raidon Naoko, and drop the fucking gun like we all know you're going to do. For all your faults (see above of an example of Raidon's faults), you're a good kid. And good kids drop their fucking guns.

And you, asshole, asshole whose name Julian didn't in fact know (though if Raidon was to be believed, it was Scott) and whose face Julian hadn't seen yet, you are not helping. So fuck you too. Inching closer to Raidon, trying to talk tough. Not helping. Talking tough when you have a gun pointed to you is by fucking definition not helping. At this rate, you are going to get yourself killed. At this rate, if Julian Avery had not shown up and started the (frustratingly slow) process of talking Raidon down, you'd have already gotten yourself killed. Saving you is hard fucking work, and you're not even going to thank Julian for it, but he is going to do it anyway.

The first move was to backpedal away from the humor. It wasn't working. Maybe Raidon just wasn't the sort to laugh, maybe the island had stolen all his laughter away, maybe- maybe someone he cares about is among the dead and you didn't even fucking think of that, Julian Avery! That would a be a hilarious twist. So: "Well shit, Raidon, I'm glad to hear it. I ain't even good at math." This was a lie. Julian was actually really good at math. But sometimes he told lies when the situation called for it. Here, from now on, he will mentally denote every time he tells a lie.

So what do you do when awful jokes don't get you what you want? Well, one option is to sit on your hands because awful jokes are basically the entirety of your repertoire. But another option is to just be honest and appeal to his better nature and maybe even plead a bit. And that will work. "But about the gun... I'm serious, man. You don't gotta shoot anyone and you know it. Scott's about to start backing away and apologizing for the sass, and then we can talk this out. Whatever this is that I barged in on, we can talk it out. You're a good guy, Raidon." This was not a lie. Julian hadn't really bothered to form much of a friendship with Raidon since, by all indications, pretty-boy already seemed like he was a genuinely good person. So he didn't need any help. He didn't need Julian. Until now, maybe. "You're a good guy, and you're not about to shoot nobody over giving you sass. And shit, I know you're scared, so whatever you need Scott and me to do to prove we ain't gonna hurt you, we'll do it."

And with that, Julian strode into the room, pushed Scott aside, knelt down next to Raidon, and gave the guy a big warm hug. He looked like he needed one. Christ, he looked like he needed one. Good kid, scared out of the mind, already worse for the wear from spending a day on Murder Island, so somebody give this kid a fucking hug. Somebody come down and join Julian and tell hm everything's gonna be alright.

In the interest of full disclosure: that last part did not actually happen. Julian finished his little speech with "we'll do it", that part happened. But he still stood transfixed in the doorway, something keeping him there. Something telling him it maybe wasn't the hottest idea to take another step. Maybe wasn't the hottest idea to give Raidon a hug, even though that was just what he needed, even though that would be just perfect, just great.

A hug would be great. But a hug was out of the question. A speech would have to do.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"I would prefer not to, to be frank," Raidon said calmly, in response to Scott's question. "I would much rather stay anonymous." In spite of his cool, collected tone, in spite of the words that spilled with unthinking ease from his mouth, his hand trembled violently. He felt as though his stomach and chest had been drained of all blood and fluids, that he was now but a walking corpses with vague intentions, unknown even to himself.

Am I even human anymore? What am I?

He hadn't killed yet. He'd told himself it was because he hadn't had the opportunity, but then, why was he making excuses for himself? Shouldn't he be glad he couldn't kill? Shouldn't he be glad that Simon had been right, that he wouldn't break, that he might make it out of here with his hands clean?

At that moment Julian began to speak.

Raidon listened in silence. The words themselves failed to reach him, failed to pass the hate he nursed for himself and for his surroundings. The world was not at fault for Raidon's own sins and doubts; only Raidon himself could take responsibility for them. But while Cassidy (poor Father Cassidy, who had taught him so much) took comfort from such thoughts, they left only more loathing for Raidon. How could he trust himself, when he knew what he could be? How could he trust others, when he knew how flawed humans as a whole were?

"You're a good guy-"

Raidon heard nothing else. His head whipped towards the strange sword-wielding boy who'd barged in, who was even now trying to talk him down, talk him off this awful precipice upon which he'd placed himself. Raidon's hand trembled all the worse the longer the intruder spoke.

No words. No thoughts. No conscious decisions. But for the barest instant, the gun dipped the barest fraction of an inch.
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your mom wanted to make sure that her clothes didnít steal the spotlight from her new haircut so she went with this feather fringed semi-transparent catsuit w/modesty pleather panels in a simple, understated black.
[ *  *  * ]
Run.

Run.

Run, you dumbass, what are you waiting for!?!


So he did. Scott wanted to live all of a sudden, so he left Raidon, left Julian (he'd thank him if he ever got the chance), and ran out of the house.

He had forgotten how he'd gotten there, but he would figure it out if he just kept running. But all these damn houses looked the same. But it was fine, no worries, he could certainly outrun Raidon. But as he was running, he dropped his hat. He had to go back and get it, it was that damn important.

He turned. He turned too fast, slipped, fell.

Twisted his ankle badly. Couldn't even escape right. Was a like a chick in a scary movie. Was as dead as they were, now.

He crawled toward the hat. So pathetic.

"Fuck.."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Scott was not going to die because he fell. Scott was going to die because he had run in the first place.

Julian had done exactly what Mizore Soryu and Simon Grey had done; Julian had looked at Raidon and assured him he was less evil than he (thought he) was. It was the kind of assurance Raidon craved (knew he craved, even; he couldn't help but want it). It was the kind of assurance which had lured him to religion in the first place, the almost blind certainty that people had some element in the divine in them and thank God for you, Father Cassidy, because without prayer and the thought that where was someone who forgave Raidon wasn't sure what he'd have done.

Except when Raidon lowered his gun, Scott started to run.

What happened then was not immediately clear to Raidon; a shell-shocked panicky haze came over him, the same kind that hits anyone close to death. He watched Scott run as though in slow motion, and his mind flickered between his present reality--between the collar on his neck, the gun in his hand, and the boy running away from him--and his reality ten years ago, coming home with a report card he was proud of in his hands, handing it to his father

(Satisfactory? You only scored satisfactory?!)

and a big, thick, tough mass towered above him and Raidon turned to run, and then-

"DON'T YOU (FUCKING) RUN FROM M(E)!" Raidon screamed, and pulled the trigger (still lowered a fraction of an inch) as Scott turned, twisted his ankle, and fell, right into the sights of the hastily-fired gun.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

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your mom wanted to make sure that her clothes didnít steal the spotlight from her new haircut so she went with this feather fringed semi-transparent catsuit w/modesty pleather panels in a simple, understated black.
[ *  *  * ]
Click click bang bang. Scott would have laughed at the fuckedupness of all this, but he was busy being ran through with bullets.

Thigh. Stomach. Chest. Bam.

God, it hurt so fucking bad. He screamed, it hurt like hell, like breaking his nose a million times, like . . .

It hurt like bullets.

He fell. He crawled, broken, toward the hat. He was getting that hat if his life de-

No, Scott's life was over now.

Blood poured out, mixed with flesh and street. If Scott had the presence of mind right now, he would say that he didn't regret anything. That he'd done what he'd had to do, even if he hadn't done what he'd wanted to do. He'd made his art and his money, that's what mattered. (Somehow the bullets had missed his bag, it would have been a miracle, but they hit him instead.) He had a bank account and a will, and he didn't regret shit.

But he didn't. All he could think was . . .

Hat hat hatwasmygrampsboughtitfromhimhavetogetthatfuckinghat

It seemed like he was crawling for hours, when it was just agonizing seconds. He got to the hat, held it tight.

It made a tragic picture, really. Real work of art.

B:039SCOTT McGREGOR-DECEASED

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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
You could be a hero here, Julian Avery. You could be a hero and it wouldn't even be that hard. You could throw yourself in front of Scott, shield him from any more bullets, one arm a big red stop sign to Raidon Naoko and the other arm holding Scott tight like Don't die on me buddy don't you dare die on me but if you really have to die on me then at least try to get some poignant last words out. You could use this moment to rush Raidon and tackle him and knock the gun out his hand and give him the beatdown he really fucking deserves right about now, because he wouldn't expect it, good Lord he wouldn't expect it, and he'd deserve it, good Lord he'd deserve it. Or you could make another speech, maybe a speech would have to do, because there's a whole fucking lot you have to say to him right now, and because God knows a fist or a sword or a gun don't cut as bad as fire and brimstone. God knows you could be a hero right now.

But you won't. Because you're already half a mile away and you're still running.

Give the boy some credit. When a gunshot goes off there's suddenly a lot to recover, and half a mile is what? Two minutes? Three. Not that bad of a recovery time. When a gunshot goes off it's so fucking loud that you can't hear yourself think, can't hear anything properly at all because the whole world's suddenly saying run run run and nothing in your head but this awful ringing sound like run run run, and you can't really think again at all till you've gotten yourself a nice safe distance away. Found yourself some peace and quiet far away from the awful sound the gun made. And then and only then can you start thinking your heroic thoughts.

Julian was wrong about you, Raidon. He made a judgment about you, he looked you in the eye and he told you all about his strongly-held belief that you were a good person, and he was wrong. And he was wrong at a very very steep cost. He will realize this, all of this, sooner or later. But not right now, because his list of priorities is already fairly long. The heroic thoughts are one. He didn't really have the opportunity to think them back at the house, so this is in some sense making up for that mistake. Running is another. Running is good, and running will continue to be a top priority until his lungs or his legs send him a very clearly-worded message. Not vomiting is another. Not vomiting is the sort of priority that gets more and more important and claims more and more of his attention, especially as he continues dealing with the mounting side effect of that second priority he mentioned.

And just for a moment, he stopped running. And just for a moment, he had to put everything he had into not vomiting on the ground. He had to postpone whatever thoughts of heroism were brewing in his head, because all that mattered was making sure his goddamn stomach did as it was fucking told. And he ended up not vomiting. He ended up managing not to vomit, honest, Scout's honor. And after what had to be just the barest fraction of a moment, he started running again. And he managed to let a heroic thought or two slip to the forefront of his mind.

Naoko Raidon, you will pay for what you have done. Like that one. All told, kinda half-formed and kinda trite and kinda just a bit pathetic. That wasn't going to cut it at all, that was fucking beneath him, that wasn't the kind of heroic thought he was even remotely capable of. But okay, Julian. Okay. If you want to start thinking about real heroism, you're not gonna be able to afford to half-ass it like this. You're going to have to make sure that it is your one and only priority, that you can put everything you have into it.

Which means, first and foremost, that you're gonna have to stop running.

(Julian Avery continued in I Got a Hand, So I Got a Fist)
Edited by Jonny, Oct 25 2010, 02:07 PM.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Raidon had seen death before.

He hadn't seen his father's death--had only woken up and faced the aftermath. But he had seen Ichiro die; had watched, transfixed, as the life dripped from his brother's open wrists, a desperate offering to a world that had always treated him unkindly. His head was filled with images of his brother as Scott pitched to the ground.

He didn't see Julian run. He had eyes for no one but Scott--Scott, as he struggled across the ground, moaning and whimpering, leaving a bloody, fleshy trail as he crawled. He had dropped his hat, Raidon saw, and his whole aim was concentrated on reaching it again. Raidon had fired three times in total, and it showed; the blood came leaking from the corners of his mouth, from his eyes. Solid force had propelled itself into his body, and forced that which it contained out through every available opening.

He reached the hat. He stopped moving. Raidon did not immediately make the connection between this and what he'd done.

Three times he'd pulled the trigger, and now there was a dead boy at his feet and Oh my God I killed him.

He was in three places at once; he was feeling the broad stroke of a thick belt lashing into his back as he tried not to yell (and, when he yelled, tried not to yell too loudly; he was watching Ichiro, weeping; he was standing over the boy he'd killed and he wasn't moving. In the end it hadn't been the cold side of him that insisted he had to kill. It had been pure chance, pure raving, lunatic accident, the sum of all that he had been leading to all that he was, right now.

A killer. Naoko Raidon had killed.

Naoko Raidon had killed and there was a long trail upon the ground, a smashed body mere feet from him, bloody wake and pool and here he was, alone in the house with death, and death was his ally if not his friend, and the panic and terror and ice and memories all fled in an instant and left him with a single horrifying reality; Naoko Raidon had killed.

He sunk to his knees in front of the body, his lips trembling. Can't be fixed, he thought numbly. Can't be taken back or argued away, can't be changed. I've killed him.

The gun fell from his numb fingers. And for a long time--hours, even--Raidon didn't move, and barely though. He stayed in the same position until his knees groaned in protest, and forced himself to remain kneeling. He would not allow himself to move; he owed that much to this poor boy, who'd only wanted to live, and who had, in his last living seconds, crawled towards a hat.

A hat. Crawled towards a hat. Why a hat? Raidon didn't attach too much importance to objects--perhaps because his needs had always been sufficiently catered to since his father's death, and before his father's death he had been trained to fear dependence on anything. The only possession he'd ever really loved was his jacket, and that he'd parted with easily. Soryu needed it.

Soryu. Ah, Soryu. A good thing we parted, before...

He'd been getting attached to Soryu. And how quickly he'd tossed her aside.

Stop it.

Stop what? Stop looking at himself? Stop realizing just how far his self-delusions extended? How pervasive was his folly? How much he feared attachment?

I killed him.

But he was always going to kill someone. Scott had just happened to move too quickly.

N-no, I...I was lowering the gun. I'm a good...I'm a good person.

If he was a good person, why had he pulled the trigger?

Hours and hours passed this way, hours spent trying to justify his folly--and it was a folly, he knew it, he knew that killing was the lower path, that murder was never right, it was what he adhered to, what he pinned all his faith in. There were principles of good, and man's wretched condition was a result of his not adhering to them.

Forgive me, Father, for I have...

Four hours in total. Four hours, watching the blood curl its way around the room. Eventually Raidon was forced to sit, his knees unable to bear the strain. He rested against a wall, eyes never leaving the corpse.

Forgive...



It was only during the last hour that something began to change in him.

His eyes were locked on the body, just as they had been. Nothing remained in him but this overwhelming disgust with himself, the clear and cold certainty that he had done wrong. He had seen previous versions of SotF, and knew the marks of a true-blue killer; he had to be able to justify his kills, one way or another. To kill because he, and he alone, deserved to survive; because he had been in danger, and there was no other way; because he had to protect his friends, or his lover, or for a million other sensible reasons.

Raidon had fired the gun out of fear and confusion and a thousand old twists and turns in his psyche, etched in him over time. But he had killed because he wanted to survive. He was under no illusions as to the relative worth of his life; it was only as valuable as that of Scott's, no more and no less. It was this knowledge which was making it so difficult to deal with Scott.

It was the same knowledge that had stayed his hand in the tunnels, and again with Mizore Soryu. It had nothing to do with the danger he was in, with the relative merits of his enemies, with Mizore Soryu's pacifism. It was simply that he did not want to kill, because he could not justify it to himself.

Except now he had killed.

He had killed Scott.

Alright.

He got to his feet, his legs creaking beneath his thin body. He hunched over, picked up his gun, and looked it over; a little bit of blood had gotten onto it, Raidon stepped forwards and wiped it on a dusty sofa, frowning as he did so. With slow deliberation he pulled the clip from the small gun, pulled the bullets from their box, and quietly reloaded.

He had killed.

He left the gun on the table for a moment, returned to Scott, and pulled his bag off of him. Pulled what he needed out of the bag (after a moment's quiet introspection, took the ibuprofen--Lord knew he might need it, somewhere along the line), finished setting everything up. Ate some of the rations provided to them without thinking, without tasting; pulled a long swig of water, clearing out a throat that had gone dry.

Shouldered his bag once more, took his gun in hand, and looked back towards Scott. "You deserved to live," he said quietly. "I'm sorry." And then he bent down and took the hat which Scott had fought so hard for. One half of it was caked in dried blood, but Raidon had promised himself he wouldn't lie.

Everyone trapped on this island deserved to live, by virtue of their being human. But one way or another, Raidon intended to be the only one survived. One way or another, Naoko Raidon would live, bearing his sins with neither self-justification nor hope of forgiveness. He knew, beyond reason and logic (and, therefore, beyond doubt), that he could live in such a way. And that thought scared him far more than the corpse of the boy he'd killed.

He placed the hat on his head and stepped out into the open.

(Naoko Raidon continued in Fight or Flight)
Edited by Grim Wolf, Oct 17 2010, 03:59 AM.
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